Land Grabbing; a Serious Menace to Environment

Land grabbing is a serious threat, plaguing not only the housing and overall real estate sector but also the environment and public health in the country.

In the first week of April this year, Prime Minister Imran Khan included an exclusive category in Pakistan Citizen Portal (PCP) to receive and pursue complaints on land grabbing. However, just couple of days ago he has stated that his government is also considering to bring a new legislation to target land grabbers and ensure strict action against them. That just insinuates the incapacity and weakness of top administration to tackle this menace and their helplessness against powerful land mafia.

Land Grabbing & Pakistan Citizen Portal

Launched in in Oct 2018, Pakistan Citizen Portal, being run under the direct supervision of Prime Minister Imran Khan is an online based complaint registration system, with a view to timely address problems of the people and get their feedback.

The provision of that new category aims to facilitate the public not only to lodge complaints regarding their lands being grabbed but also to blow the whistle about the state land being encroached upon by the land mafia. Moreover, it enables authorities to keep abreast of grey areas of administration pertaining to the land management, get analytics for policy formulation, evaluate capacity as well as efficiency of concerned officials and hold them accountable in case of negligence.

New Legislation

The menace of land grabbing is not restricted to megacity alone, but is faced by other cities of the country as well due to rapid urbanization.  Referring to the new legislation PM Imran Khan opines the land mafia is acting with nefarious objectives to take through force the possession of properties. He accepts “there is no deterrent”, as legal proceedings lacking sufficient evidence resulted in the bails of those accused of land grabbing, while the minor penalties did not act as a deterrent against the crime.

The mafia is also emboldened due to lenient punishment and high monetary benefits. However, now the Premier hopes “the new law will help mitigate the sufferings of people fallen victim to illegal dispossession and ensure strict action against the land grabbers.”

Environmental Hazard

The encroachment and grabbing of land, both illegally and forcefully, is a big environmental hazard. As misuse of land causes diminishing of agricultural areas and water resources. It also make the economies of a country highly dependent upon imports. Despite this malpractice, either in the shape of land grabbing, china cutting or encroachment, is going on across the country. Although any quick legislation against it is highly unlikely, but a hope is the only option so far.


Editorial, Infocus

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